By now, I hope you’ve educated yourself on the importance of a diverse bookshelf (and toy chest!). Children need to see themselves, as well as children who look different and have greatly different experiences, reflected in the books they read. This builds confidence and empathy and prepares them to live harmoniously in the diverse world outside your home.
Here are twenty books featuring Black, Muslim characters to start your bookshelf off. But first, let’s look at some other practical ways you can contribute to the cause:
- Purchase books with diverse characters as baby gifts and Eid gifts for the other children around you. When in doubt, remember books always make the best presents!
- Donate copies to school libraries, make sure these books are being read and discussed in classrooms.
- Request copies of these books at public libraries. Help make all books accessible to people who can not always purchase their own copies.
- Spread the word by sharing your favorite books and authors within your circle of friends and family or share their posts on social media. This takes less than five minutes but is so effective!
- Leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. The more positive notes on a book, the more likely it is to sell out, go for a reprint, and the faster the author or publisher can come out with new titles.
- Always purchase from the author directly or independent bookstores where possible. Amazon takes a much larger chunk of the author’s earnings, purchasing from independent stores not only supports them but the author as well. In the long run, this means more books!
These links will take you to author websites or independent bookstores.
- Ramadan Around The World - Ndaa Hassan
- The Colours of My Eid - Suzanne Muir
- One Perfect Eid Day and No More Cake - Suzanne Muir
- How Much Does Allah Love Me? - Heba Subeh-Hyder
- The Sadiq Series - Siman Nuurali
- My Monster and Me - Nadiya Hussain and Ella Bailey
- The Proudest Blue - S.K. Ali and Ibtihaj Muhammad
- Not Quite Snow White - Ashley Franklin
- Your Name is a Song - Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
- Mommy’s Khimar - Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
- All Are Welcome - Alexandra Penfold
- Little People, Big Dreams: Muhammad Ali - Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara
- Malcolm Little - Ilyasah Shahbaz
- Muslim Girls Rise - Saira Mir
- Nanni’s Hijab - Khadija Abdul-Haqq
- Bashirah and the Amazing Bean Pie - Ameenah Muhammad-Diggins
- Ngozi’s Little Brown Princess Tea Party - Asiyah Muhsin-Thomas
- You are Beautiful - Robyn Z. Abdusamad
- Zaynab’s Enchanted Scarf - Robyn Z. Abdusamad
- Basirah the Basketballer says Insha’Allah - Hafsah Dabiri
This isn’t limited to books, representation should extend to all aspects of your life. Incorporate diverse characters in your children’s playrooms with their toys. Here’s a list of stores that carry toys that reflect your household.
WHERE TO FIND DIVERSE DOLLS
- @littlemuslimdolls - for handpainted Muslim peg dolls (need we say more?).
- @wahdaworld - their dolls, storybooks, and prayer mats make the PERFECT gift basket.
- @salam.sisters - are a popular choice since their dolls are of excellent quality.
- @ibtihajmuhammad - on a scale of 1 - 10 how excited were you when the Ibtihaj Muhammad Barbie came out?
- @openarmskayseri - these dolls made by Syrian refugee women are a win-win choice.
- @deendolls - are “made for everyone in the universe” and if that isn’t goals, what is?
- @albanaatdolls_byalia - make an ummi and abbi doll as well, these handmade “halal” dolls represent the entire family!
- The Pattycake Doll Company - has something for everyone, have a look and see for yourself!
- Sade Is All Natural - makes dolls with natural hair to help your little girl own her curls.
- @kaya_made - has utterly gorgeous dolls, utterly homemade!
- @thimbleanddoll - allow you to personalize your doll in just four steps.
- @healthyrootsdolls - carries dolls with natural hair that can be styled - what fun!
- @peggy_pip - with more diverse peg dolls.
- @educub_collection - carry jigsaw puzzles featuring children of color.
- @nia.ballerina - dolls, music boxes, and backpacks - Nia Ballerina is a sure favorite.
- @kidsswagco - are your one-stop-shop for diverse kids' products!
- @biankhaandfriends - shop dolls and backpacks.
- @thefreshdolls - has a huge collection of Black dolls to choose from.
- @sibahlecollection - includes dolls and a ton of other lifestyle products for children.
- @serendolls - inspired by nature and seasons, these are just so dreamy!
With Eid being around the corner I hope you will be able to purchase some of these books and toys in order to delight your children but also support these businesses. Making a difference starts at home, please be mindful of the things you choose to bring into your home knowing that it will impact and influence your children psyche.